Influence may be the highest level of human skills.

I'm thinkin' that there is two groups of people; those that strive for influence, and those that don't know they have it.  Would you agree with that?

Since it would seem that I have a rather eager audience of readers to this blog, you could say I have some influence.  People read my words and ponder my thoughts; some even going so far as to be looking for things to criticize or condemn.  This is fascinating to me, as I never truly thought I was influential in such a way as to change the opinions of others, much less threaten anyone's position or power.  I am not a minister, motivational speaker or celebrity.  I'm not a celebrated scholar or even highly educated.  I am not an important personality of any successful company, business or volunteer organization.  In reality, I am a middle-aged, middle-class, stay-at-home mom trying to do the best I can to be a good friend and neighbor to those that come into my life.  I am just like millions of other people, all over the world, who find pleasure and satisfaction by sharing their thoughts and experiences on a blog such as this one.

I concede that the internet, as well as television and movies, makes people larger than life.  It is sometimes difficult to keep in mind that news anchors, professional actors and even authors are real people with real feelings, opinions and weaknesses.  Those that rise to the top of any particular group, I have to admit, will be seen as having a big voice.  And let's face it, don't we all want to emulate those smarter, wiser, stronger and more successful than ourselves?  I certainly do.

Those with a big voice, influence, are burdened with the responsibility of integrity, since by virtue of their G-d given talents others follow them.  They are the natural leaders, regardless of their station in life.  The duty falls to them to lead by example, extolling the character traits of honesty, loyalty, compassion and service.

Because everything we say and do 
is the length and shadow of our own souls, 
our influence is determined by the quality of our being.

Dale E. Turner
I don't know that I will ever truly consider myself influential, regardless of what is said about me.  I believe that any influence that has been afforded me must have been given by the Almighty Himself...a fact I take very, very seriously.  I have the high honor of influence over my children and their training.  I can influence my husband in a way as to make him feel respected and loved.  I can encourage friends and family, which is a way to influence them to feel needed and wanted.  But, beyond that, I have no undue expectation of influencing others in one way of thought as opposed to another.

But, if I did...if I was someone who could influence others with just these simple words on a blog...I would want to influence others to love each other wholeheartedly.  I would want to encourage them to love G-d with all their hearts and lives.  I would suggest that giving and self-sacrifice is more rewarding than selfishness and manipulation.  I would scream from the rooftops to live the best you can for today, pouring your heart and love into those around you because you are not guaranteed tomorrow...

And, would that make a difference?  Would I be able to influence my readers?

Well, for those that are looking to disparage me, it hasn't happened yet...

and I'm not holding my breath.